Warning: contains spoilers for I Am Iron Man #3!Iron Man‘s new Iron Shogun armor comes with a not-so-subtle jab at the highly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. The MCU truly began with 2008’s Iron Man and soon elevated the superhero film to a dominant force in pop culture with 2012’s The Avengers. Robert Downey Jr.’s iconic portrayal of Tony Stark made Iron Man an A-list superhero almost overnight, making the once-niche superhero one of Marvel’s most popular properties.


In issue 3 of I Am Iron Man, by Murewa Ayodele and Dotun Akande, Iron Man and War Machine find themselves kidnapped, given new samurai-themed armor, and forced to perform for Mojo, an interdimensional villain who uses superheroes as unwilling participants in staged-reality TV shows. The two heroes escape, but Mojo nevertheless appreciates their respective performances and the ensuing high ratings. In a blatant joke at the MCU’s expense, Mojo notes Iron Man’s popularity and plans to bring him back two more times, along with an increasing numbers of Earth heroes with some aliens sprinkled in. “We’ll make a lot of money,” says Mojo. “the audience will never get tired of stories about heroes.”

Iron Man vs Mojo Mocks the MCU

iron man tony stark mojo

Mojo’s explanation of an Iron Man film trilogy leading into an expansive, connected movie universe starring Earth’s heroes is a hilarious joke at the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s expense. His project includes a kid sidekick (as fans saw in the real-world Iron Man 3) and elaborate new armor as a visual gimmick. However, it’s also a joke which seems to contain some real venom.

Mojo is a powerful despot in his home reality, keeping the inhabitants of Mojoworld under his thumb by providing a constant stream of trash entertainment to keep them docile. His business practises – here kidnapping an innocent woman – are often used as a parody of big business and corporate greed, and the movies and TV he creates aren’t usually any good, satisfying the lowest common denominator rather than having artistic merit.

How Vicious Is Iron Man’s MCU Comparison Meant to Be?

iron man mocks mcu

Iron Man is an astoundingly important character to the greater Marvel mythos but he was, unfortunately, an obscure character to the non-comic-reading public before his cinematic debut. Thanks to the Iron Man films, the Tony Stark of the comics quickly became one of the most popular Marvel comic characters, though he did go through some changes to match his movie counterpart. Iron Man’s armors tend to resemble their cinematic counterparts now more than ever and Stark has become a quippier hero, bringing him closer to Robert Downey Jr.’s iteration. The movies present a version of Iron Man who’s not exactly the man comic fans knew at the time – perhaps in the same way Mojo controls this adventure to get the story he wants to tell.

Marvel isn’t shy about taking potshots at its Disney overlords, with fans speculating upcoming mega-villain the Enigma is a metaphor for the House of Mouse, however it’s up to readers to decide how close to the bone this Mojo comparison is meant to be. Iron Man certainly has a more foundational tie to the MCU than any other hero, making Tony Stark the perfect vessel for commentary on the modern pop culture landscape, where superhero movies indeed reign supreme.

I Am Iron Man #3 is available from Marvel Comics now.

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